« 上一頁繼續 »
859. They assembled in their respective States, not merely for greater convenience, but from the necessity and propriety of the case, as there existed no authority under the Confederation for calling a general Convention of the People of the United States; and if such authority had existed, it would not have been a proper mode of assembling the People on an occasion in which they were in effect, to pass on virtual amendments of their State Constitutions.
860. Although the People of each State exercised a separate and independent voice, in the ratification of the Federal Constitution ; "it was nevertheless adopted by the People themselves, and not by the State Governments; and it derives its binding force solely from the act of the People in their State Conventions... :
861. The Instrument submitted to them, purports on its face to proceed from the People of the United · States; as such, it was adopted : and if the People of the several States had never before acquired a common character, they expressly assumed it, on that occasion.
862. The assent of the State Governments is implied, if not expressed, in their calling the Conventions and submitting the Constitution to the consi. deration of the People; but the People of each State were at perfect liberty to accept or reject it, and their act was final :-the Constitution required not the affirmance of the State Governments, and could not be negatived by them; but when adopted by the People, it became of complete obligation, and bound the States.
863. The same respective Sovereignties, which had separately established the State Governments, united
with each other in forming a paramount Sovereignty, and establishing a Supreme Government ; for which purpose each yielded a portion of its individual Sovereignty, and modified its State Constitution, by rendering it subordinate to the Federal Power.
864. As the powers delegated to the State Governments by their Constitutions, were delegated by the People themselves, and not by a distinct and independent Sovereignty created by their act, those Governments were only competent to form a league like the Confederation; and when it was proposed to change that league into an effective Government, operating directly on the People as individuals, it became necessary to derive its powers directly from the People themselves.
865. As the Government of the Union is then emphatically and truly a Government of the People; as in form and substance it emanates from them; as its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised on them directly and individually, for their common benefit ; it cannot be abolished, nor its powers abrogated, except by their consent.
866. As the Constitution of the United States forms a union between the People of the several States intended to be perpetual, and establishes a National Government owing protection to individuals, and entitled to their obedience, no State can dissolve the relations subsisting between that Government, and the individuals subjected to its authority; unless the respective States retain power under the Federal Constitution to settle for themselves its construction in all doubtful cases. ,
867. But as no individual can judge for himself, and decide in his own case upon the nature and extent of his obligations as a Citizen of the Union, so the State within whose jurisdiction he resides, cannot judge for him ; neither can it finally judge for itself of any alleged violation of the Constitution, and execute its decisions by its own power; as there is a Power created by the Constitution, both by implication from the nature of the Government which it establishes, and by express grant, which controls the decisions of every State, and prevents its construe. tion of the Federal Constitution from being conclusive.
868. A State, therefore, having no power to in. terpret the Constitution finally for itself, cannot secede from the Union without adopting a proceeding essentially revolutionary in its character; and every attempt by a State to abrogate or annula Law of the United States, is not only a usurpation of the powers of the General Government, but an aggression upon the equal rights of the other individual States. .
869. From this examination of the fundamental principles, organization, and powers of the Govern. ment of the United States, it results : , 1. That the Federal Constitution was erected
on the basis of those inalienable rights which the People of the several States derive, in common with all mankind, from their Creator; and of those principles and institutions which they had inherited from their ancestors, as subjects of the British Crown; modified by their situation and circumstances as Colonists, and by their successful vindication of their natural rights, in the assertion
of their independence. 2. That it was formed on the Republican prin
ciple of representation ; in due regard to which, the powers of Government were separately delegated, and properly distri. buted to the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial departments, as each being equally the representative of the People, and chosen directly or indirectly by that portion of
them, who from age, sex, or other circum. stances, are competent to be entrusted with
the exercise of that Power.' 3. That the Federal Constitution was adopted
by the People themselves, and not by the assent or ratification of the State Governments; and establishes a Government proper, operating upon every individual resid
ing under its protection. • 4. That this Government extends over the
Union, as one National community or body
politico; composed, not only of the people .. of the States, but to a certain degree of the
States themselves, for the purpose of investing the States, as well as the People,
with one National character. 5. That. as the Union, thus formed, constitutes
the Nation, the People of the several States have, for all the purposes of the Constitution, become one People, owing local alle. giance to the States in which they resideparamount allegiance to the National Go
vernment. .. . 6. That all the Powers requisite to secure the
Bel objects of National Union, are vested in the *' General Government; whilst those only L!which are not essential to that object, are
reserved to the States, or to the People. 7. That the National Government, though limit
ed in its powers to National objects, is su
preme in the exercise of those powers- whether express or implied, exclusive or
concurrent, enumerated or auxiliary; and
that whenever any of those powers come into collision with the concurrent, or distinct and independent Powers of the States, the State Power, which is subordinate, must yield to the National Power, which is
supreme. . 8. That the Constitution and Laws of the United
States, and Treaties made under the authority of the National Government, are the Supreme Law of the land; and that both from the nature of the case, and the provi. sions of the Constitution, the National Legislature must judge of, and finally interpret the Supreme Law, as often as it exercises acts of legislation; that the Chief Executive Magistrate in like manner possesses the power of judging of the nature and extent of his political authority, as often as he is called on to exercise it; and that in all cases assuming the character of a suit in Law or Equity, the Supreme Judicial tribunal of the Union, is the final interpreter of the
Constitution. 9. That no State authority has power to dissolve
the relations existing between the Government of the United States, and the People of the several States ; and consequently, that no State has a right to secede from the Union, except under such circumstances as would justify a Revolution in the Government; and that an attempt by any State to abrogate or annul an act of the National Legislature, is a direct usurpation of the powers of the General Government, an infringement on the rights of all the other States, and a plain violation of the paramount obligation of its members, to support and obey the Constitution of the United States